This is why you will benefit from expert legal advice about your situation.
The Family Law team at Maddens Lawyers have extensive experience in this area.
Both parents have full responsibility for each or any child under 18 years of age. If the parents can't agree on matters, such as:
then the court - usually the Federal Court - will step in to make orders that dictate both parents' responsibilities.
The orders made by the court are called parenting orders. There are four types of parenting orders:
Often such orders are made on an interim basis only.
To accommodate inevitable changes in circumstances, such as the children getting older, or moving out of home, parents are able to apply to the Courts to alter or amend the Orders.
The court can also appoint an independent lawyer to represent your children in the process, and it can order a child psychologist to prepare a "family report", looking at how relationships with the family work, in order to make recommendations about future care arrangements.
It is important to remember the courts' and legal practitioner's main focus will always be the best interests of the children. What result the parents would prefer is never considered to be more important than the children's needs.
Once you start court proceedings, you are in what is referred to as an "adversarial environment". This means one person is against the other, and both parties are asking a third party to decide what is in the best interests of their children.
This is why our clients are almost always better off in they can negotiate a parenting plan, rather than going to court.
The court will, generally, always encourage both parties to do this.
Going to trial can be expensive and stressful. However, that said, sometimes it is the only option.
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